Recent publications – Understanding Disturbances

It’s been a productive year and a half, at least regarding publications on environmental issues and sustainability.  I thought that over the next couple months, I could start to regularly showcase some of the work that has recently been published.  I have four that are out already this year and another five in review, so I’ll start working through that list.  My goal is to give a short layperson synopsis.  If you want the abstract or full article, you can pull it from the publications section of my website or use the citation to look it up.

This first piece is on “disturbances” to social-ecological systems and was written with my good friend and collaborator, Michael Cox.  Basically, we note that most of the research that we rely on is discussion human-nature interactions as a system, but the researcher generally sets the boundaries for that system – a forest, a city, a country, an ecosystem, etc.  They then often want to understand its resilience, robustness, vulnerability, adaptive capacity, or sustainability in the face of a number of disturbances.  However, when discussing these disturbances the researchers tend to do one of two things.  Either they talk abstractly about some unknown disturbance or they talk about a specific set of disturbances that forms the heart of their research and/or concern.

What we tried to do was take a closer look at these disturbances and classify them in a useful way for further analysis.  Our goal is to talk about broad categories of system disturbances in a way that allows people (researchers, practitioners, institutional designers, etc) to make sense of what they are doing, what they hope to accomplish through their actions, and call to mind how and why they’ve defined the system that they have and what disturbances they expect to face.

The citation for this piece is:

Schoon, Michael L. and Michael E. Cox. 2012. “Understanding Disturbances and Responses in Social-Ecological Systems”. Society and Natural Resources 25(2): 141-155.

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